Turkey’s parliament authorized the government to order military action against Islamic State on Thursday as the insurgents tightened their grip on a Syrian border town, sending thousands more Kurdish refugees into Turkey.
The vote gives the government powers to order incursions into Syria and Iraq to counter the threat of attack “from all terrorist groups”, although there was little sign that any such action was imminent, according to Reuters.
The mandate also allows foreign troops to launch operations from Turkey, a NATO member which hosts a US air base in its southern town of Incirlik but which has so far resisted a frontline role in the military campaign against the insurgents.
“The rising influence of radical groups in Syria threatens Turkey’s national security… The aim of this mandate is to minimize as much as possible the impact of the clashes on our borders,” Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz told parliament.
Islamic State fighters advanced to within a few kilometers of the mainly Kurdish border town of Kobani on three sides on Thursday, extending their gains after taking control of hundreds of villages around the town in recent weeks.
In neighboring Iraq, which also borders Turkey, the insurgents have carried out mass executions, abducted women and girls as sex slaves, and used children as fighters in what may amount to war crimes, the United Nations said.
They took control of most of the western Iraqi town of Hit early on Thursday in Anbar province, where they already control many surrounding towns, launching the assault with three suicide car bombs at its eastern entrance.
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